SATURDAY, 12TH SEPTEMBER 2020
The Reverend Sandra Fyfe has been elected the next Anglican Bishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. When consecrated bishop she will be the 17th person to hold the post. Owing to Covid-19 restrictions, the 149th Session of the Diocese met in eleven locations throughout the two provinces to conduct the election. She was voted in on the 3rd ballot. The Reverend Sandra Fyfe is currently the rector of the Parish of Horton, St. John’s Church, Wolfville, where she has served since 2009. A graduate of Queen’s Theological College, St. John’s, NL with her Masters of Divinity, she was ordained deacon in 2000 and priest in 2001. Others places where she has served have been: curate at St. Thomas Church, St. John’s, NL; rector at Christ Church, Shelburne; and, priest-in-charge of the parishes of St. James Church, Kentville, and Lockeport-Barrington. She was Archdeacon of the South Shore Region until 2009 and Archdeacon of the Valley Region until 2017.
The Electoral Synod to choose the 17th Bishop of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island was convened at 9 a.m. Four candidates were nominated by the search committee: the Reverend Katherine Bourbonniere, the Reverend Carl Fraser, the Reverend Sandra Fyfe, and the Reverend Elliott Siteman. The Reverend Eliott Siteman withdrew on 4th September. Three candidates were eligible for the ballot: the Reverend Katherine Bourbonniere, the Reverend Carl Fraser, and the Sandra Fyfe. There were no nominations from the floor.
Gathered at a number of locations throughout the provinces of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and connected by video link.
The President of Synod, Archbishop David Edwards, Metropolitan of the Province of Canada led the opening Eucharist.
The Executive Secretary of Synod reported on the number of delegates:
There were 212 eligible lay delegates to Synod: 192 were in attendance 90.6%
There were 149 eligible clergy delegates to Synod: 129 were in attendance 86.6%
Archbishop Edwards introduced the candidates.
Motion to create sessional committee for Canons and Constitutions. Lori Ramsey/Gordon Redden. Passed.
Motion to create session committee to approve minutes of Synod. Kristin MacKenzie/Paul Smith. Passed.
The Chancellor of the Diocese James Travers then reported on the legality of synod. The search committee reported on its process. The Executive Secretary outlined voting procedures.
Archbishop Edwards announced the results.
Bishop Elect Sandra Fyfe gave her consent.
Archbishop Edwards closed in prayer.
Motion to Adjourn at 12:50 p.m. Kristin MacKenzie
Archdeacon Tom Henderson,
Assistant Secretary to Synod,
12th September 2020.
Synod in 2020 looks a little different than we are used to! With the ongoing pandemic shaping our lives in new and surprising ways, we had to find a way to elect a bishop and still adhere to all government protocols as well as our diocesan protocols, while still following Canon 1, which is our rule about electing a bishop. This is a very complicated task. However, it was not impossible, and we are set for an electoral synod on Saturday September 12 the likes of which have never been seen in our diocese before.
We are gathering in 11 different sites. Each of the 10 regions of the Diocese will meet at a church, and the nominees, as well as our new Archbishop, David Edwards, will be at the Cathedral. The Archbishop serves as the president, or chair of an electoral synod. Each region will be connected with the others via Zoom, so that we can all hear and see each other.
Synod begins at 9 am. We always start an electoral synod with a service of Holy Eucharist. In this case, the Eucharist will be celebrated in each site, following all precautions, and we will all hear the same sermon from Archbishop David.
At the conclusion of the Eucharist, we carry on with Synod. We will hear if there are any further nominations, and then hear a report from the Executive Secretary of Synod about the numbers of delegates who are attending. If more than half the registered delegates have checked in, we have a quorum and can continue. If we have more than two thirds, that will mean that we need a simple majority of clergy and a simple majority of lay folks to elect a bishop. If we have less than two thirds of delegates, than we need a two thirds majority in each house to elect a bishop.
After the Executive Secretary reports on the numbers, Archbishop David will introduce the three nominees. Following their introductions, we will create two sessional committees – a Canons and Constitutions committee that will help if there are questions about the canons or how to proceed, and a Committee to Approve the Minutes, which will carefully review the minutes after Synod.
After sessional committees, the Archbishop will appoint the scrutineers for the day. Scrutineers are the ones who count the votes, and there are three for each location – mixed teams of clergy and lay.
After all this is done, the Diocesan Chancellor will address Synod, and talk about what makes this unusual Synod still a valid gathering. We then hear a report from the Episcopal Search Committee and the Executive Secretary will outline voting procedures..
This work is all necessary to make sure that we are doing things properly, and that people know what we are doing. After all this business, it will be time to vote. We have no clue how many rounds of voting there will be – that is up to the delegates and the Holy Spirit. After each round of voting, the scrutineers in each location will divide the votes into clergy and lay, and count them. Results are then sent into the Cathedral location, and our head scrutineer.
Although we are gathered in regions, we vote as a diocese. This means that the results for any particular region will not be published or released in any way. The only results that will be released will be the total for the round of voting for the whole Diocese.
Archbishop David will announce the results of each round of voting, and if there is no election, we will prepare for another round of voting.
Please continue to hold delegates to Synod, as well as those who have official roles in your prayers. Please pray also for those who have allowed their names to stand as candidates.
The Rev'd Will Ferrey
Executive Secretary of Synod
...an excerpt from communication to Synod Delegates
As you might imagine, this Synod will not look like other Synods, even like other electoral Synods that we have had! As a result of the Covid pandemic, we have had to make significant adjustments. The biggest change is that we will not be gathering all in one place. It is simply not possible to have all the members of Synod in one location at this time. Instead, we will gather in regional groups. Below is a list of where each region is meeting. You can find your region and location on the list. Each location will be linked with each other and with the Cathedral via video and audio, so we will be able to see and hear each other.
PEI- St. Paul's Charlottetown
Cape Breton - St. Mary's Glace Bay
Northumbria- Christ Church Stellarton
Dartmouth- Church of St. Andrew Cole Harbour
Chebucto- St. James Armdale
Fort Sackville- St, Francis By The Lakes Lower Sackville
Valley- St. James Kentville
South Shore- Holy Trinity Bridgewater
Chignecto- St. John's Truro
Eastern Shore- Christ Church Dartmouth
We are not able to provide any refreshments on the day of Synod. We thought long and hard about this, but to offer even coffee or tea would make safe social distancing very complicated. We are asking each delegate to bring a bag lunch, as well as any snacks they will need, and enough liquid refreshments for an entire day.
As masks are required at all public indoor spaces in Nova Scotia, we will be asking everyone to wear a mask. If possible, we ask that you bring your own mask, although we will have a few in each location just in case. It is recommended that you bring at least two masks, as they may become moist through the day.
As is usually the case at Synod, it will be overly complicated to try and adjust the temperature of the halls in which we will gather. Please dress appropriately for the weather, and consider dressing in layers, or bringing layers with you.
As is usual for Electoral Synods, all the voting will be done by orders. This means that all the lay votes will be counted separately from the clergy votes. The ballots will be colour coded to help make it obvious who is who. Scrutineers at each location will count the ballots, then communicate with the Cathedral. When all the votes are in, the results of each ballot will be announced from the Cathedral.
We are not able to accommodate observers at this Synod. We are working on keeping the groups in each location as small as is possible because of the pandemic. Anyone who wishes to follow along with the results of each ballot can follow the Diocese on Facebook and Twitter, where the results of ballots will be posted as they are announced.
Nothing is normal about this Synod! Nevertheless, we know that God will be present, as God always has been, and always will be present with God's people. Despite the distance, despite the changes, despite the technology, God will be with us, the Spirit of God will move and will speak, and it will be our job to listen to that call. I hope you will spend these next weeks in prayer. Please pray for our nominees, Katherine, Carl, Sandra and Elliott, please pray for the members of the Synod arrangements committee, and please pray for all the delegates of this Synod.
The Rev. Will Ferrey, Executive Secretary of Synod
The Episcopal Search Committee is pleased to provide additional information on the four nominees for Bishop of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Each nominee was given four questions which were designed to give Synod delegates a more rounded picture of the nominee.
August 5, 2020
The Episcopal Search Committee is pleased to provide a video introduction for the four nominees for Bishop of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Stay tuned for additional information on the nominees around mid-August and end August 2020.
On Saturday, May 30, 2020 at 9:00 a.m., the following members of Synod gathered at the Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax for the 149th session of the Synod of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island:
The Most Rev. Ron Cutler, Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada, Chair
Mrs. Daphne Beeler, St. Mark’s, Halifax, Chair of the Episcopal Search Committee
Mrs. Jan Connors, St. George’s Halifax
The Rev. Canon Gordon Redden, Acting Executive Secretary of Synod
The Very Rev. Paul Smith, Dean of the Cathedral Church of All Saints
Mrs. Connors was asked to take notes of the proceedings.
The Metropolitan led in prayer.
Given that the state of emergency existing in response to the Covid 19 pandemic prohibited the gathering of any groups of more than 10 people, it was deemed impossible to obtain a quorum of members to conduct the work of the Synod, the Metropolitan read Canon 1, section 12(2) to the members of the Electoral Synod present:
“If a quorum is not present at the time appointed for the opening of an electoral synod, the members present may adjourn from time to time until a quorum is obtained and it is not necessary that any further summons be sent to the members of the electoral synod.”
It was then moved by Canon Redden, seconded by Dean Smith that “According to Canon 1 section 12 (2), an absence of a quorum being noted, it is resolved that the Electoral Synod be adjourned to September 12, 2020, and if a quorum not be present at that time, a further adjournment shall occur to a date to be determined.”
The resolution was passed unanimously by those present.
The Episcopal Search Committee is please to present the following nominees for the position of Bishop of the Diocese:
- The Reverend Katherine Bourbonniere
- The Reverend Carl Fraser
- The Reverend Sandra Fyfe
- The Reverend Elliott Siteman
The provincial restrictions placed on the number of people permitted to gather combined with the restrictions on interprovincial travel have made it necessary to conclude that the Electoral Synod scheduled for May 30th cannot proceed as planned.
In consultation with the Archbishop and the Diocesan Chancellor, we see no possibility that this situation will change sufficiently within the next 25 days to allow the Synod to take place.
While the Constitution and canons of the Diocese do not permit us to officially postpone the Synod from May 30 to a future date, we are at this point advising you not to make plans to gather at All Saints Cathedral on May 30th. Please do not make travel plans and do not make hotel reservations.
On May 30th, under the provisions of Canon 1, section 12.2, five members of Synod will gather in person and pass a resolution to postpone the Electoral Synod to September 12 2020, which is a date chosen by Diocesan Council.
The list of nominees for election to the office of diocesan bishop will be circulated on May 16th.
The Rev'd Canon Gordon Redden
Acting Executive Secretary of Synod
At this time we continue to plan for an Electoral Synod to take place on May 30 2020. However we are making contingency plans in the event that we are prevented from gathering by the Public Health Emergency. This means that:
- lists of eligible members of the Synod are being prepared.
- The Episcopal search committee has received names proposed as nominees, those individuals have been contacted and asked to submit the required consent and police record checks by April 20. The eligible nominees will be determined today and requested to submit written responses to questions. The list of nominees will be released to members of synod and made available through social media on May 16.
In the event that it appears likely that we will be unable to gather for the synod, we will send a notification to members of synod by May 4th.
If the Synod cannot take place on May 30, the Diocesan Council has selected September 12 2020 as the alternate date for the gathering of the synod. This gathering will only take place if the restrictions on gathering have been lifted and there are no restrictions on travel between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island (i.e. no quarantine periods for inter-provincial travel). We will observe best practices for social gatherings at that time- physical distancing and the provision of hand washing and sanitizing facilities. The Canon on the election of a bishop has no provision for electronic balloting and requires the entire synod membership to be gathered in one place.
The written materials and video recordings made by nominees will be released by August 22. We remind members of Synod that the election of a bishop is a prayerful discernment, not a political process.
In addition to the requested material, there will be a “Town Hall” panel gathering of nominees on August 29. This will take place at the Cathedral Church of All Saints and be moderated by the Episcopal Search Committee. This event will be live streamed and recorded.
Some people have asked about the possibility of Archbishop Cutler deferring the date of his retirement in the event the electoral synod cannot take place on May 30. Diocesan Canon 1 and the Canons of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada make no provision to rescind a resignation once it has been accepted.
Our Diocese does have a canonical provision for interim leadership in the absence or incapacity of a bishop. This period is governed by Canon 3 (link). According to this Canon, the Diocesan Council will appoint a group of 3 clergy as diocesan administrators. Their duties are defined in the Canon. They will serve until the consecration of a new Diocesan bishop. The Diocesan Council will appoint the administrators at their June 12-13 meeting.
To: Parishes of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island
From: The Reverend Canon Gordon Redden, Acting Executive Secretary of Synod
Date: March 16, 2020
Subject: Process for proposing names for nomination for election as Coadjutor Bishop
Pursuant to the call for an Electoral Synod communicated on February 11, 2020, please find below the process for proposing names for nomination for election as Coadjutor Bishop.
1. Electoral Synod process: The search, proposal, nomination and election process are determined by Diocesan Canon 1: Election, Appointment, Consecration and Resignation of Bishops.
2. Search Committee: Diocesan Council has appointed an Episcopal Search Committee composed of Daphne Beeler, Robert Sheppard, Jordan Waterbury and The Reverends Brieanna Andrews, Colin Nicolle and Laura Marie Piotrowicz. Council appointed Edith Marshall as Secretary to the Search committee.
3. Description of Qualifications and Requirements: The Search Committee has prepared a written description of the qualifications and requirements of our next Diocesan Bishop and it has been approved at a special meeting of Diocesan Council on March 13, 2020.
4. Who can propose names for nomination to the Search Committee? Any member of Synod and members of the Provincial House of Bishops may propose names to the Search Committee. The Search Committee may, in its own right, propose names.
5. Parishioners who are not eligible, as defined above, to propose names, may discuss the proposed name with their Synod delegate(s) and the Synod delegate may propose the name on behalf of the parishioner.
6. Process for proposing a name or names to the Search Committee:
a. Any member of Synod may submit in writing to the Secretary of the Episcopal Search Committee the name or names of any person or persons proposed by the member for nomination as Coadjutor Bishop.
b. A person proposed for nomination must be a priest or bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada or a church in full communion therewith who is at least thirty years and less than seventy years of age.
c. A person proposed for nomination must also meet the criteria set out in General Qualifications and Requirements for the Bishop of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island attached to this notice.
d. The following information must be supplied for each person proposed:
i. The name of the person
ii. the clerical position or office currently held by the person
iii. The address of the person
iv. The telephone number and email address of the person
v. A statement that the person has consented to be proposed.
e. Proposed names should be sent or delivered to:
Secretary, Episcopal Search Committee
Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island
1340 Cathedral Lane
Halifax NS B3H 2Z1
Proposed names may also be sent by email to: email@example.com
The deadline for receiving proposed names is no later than midnight ADT on Saturday, April 4th, 2020.